Pac-12 Networks Honored as 2013-2014 AVCA Grant Burger Media Award Recipient



LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 27, 2014) -   The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce that Pac-12 Networks has been selected as the recipient of the 2013-14 AVCA Grant Burger Media Award. This is the second television network to garner the award since BYU TV won the honor in 2011-2012. 


"The investment of the Pac-12 Networks in volleyball is incredible," said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "While we understand that football and men's basketball are funding the networks, the 90+ volleyball broadcasts give our sport a chance to be seen and understood by casual sports fans. Only time will tell if added exposure is sufficient for volleyball to break out of our ‘niche' status, but this certainly gives us our best chance."


Since launching in 2011, Pac-12 Networks has quickly become one of the major television producers of volleyball matches in the country. This past fall season, they broadcasted 90 women's volleyball matches (more than any other network) for all 12 schools in the highly competitive Pac-12 Conference, which saw three schools finish in the top-6 of the final AVCA Coaches Poll. This includes five postseason NCAA Regional match-ups that showcased those three schools: Washington, Stanford and the University of Southern California.


If that wasn't enough, this past spring season they produced and broadcasted 18 men's volleyball matches highlighting some of the nation's best talent. Pac-12 Networks continued broadcasting additional volleyball including four sand events on the campus of Southern California. All broadcasts for the women's and men's indoor and sand were in high definition. In the 2014-2015 season, they are planning on broadcasting another 90+ women's and 15+ men's matches.


Few organizations across the country have committed the finances and resources the Pac-12 Networks has. Additionally, they continue to add top broadcasting talent with strong volleyball credentials like Al Scates, Holly McPeak, Kevin Barnett and Anne Marie Anderson to entertain, educate and inform viewers around the globe.


However, they are more than just one television network. They also have six full-time HD linear networks that televise hundreds of live sporting events annually to provide 24/7 access to Pac-12 teams and universities. They integrate their content to school websites, mobile and social media to broaden their reach using the most innovative technology.






As the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Sports Information Director, Matt Higgins has significantly contributed to the sport of volleyball by being on the front lines of NCAA Division III volleyball. After coming on board in 2010, Higgins is responsible for the conference's sports information, website, scheduling, awards, official's payroll and various office management duties. He highlights on-court achievements of the 11 schools in addition to human interest and charity event stories.

Higgins has also dived in head first to expanding the conference's reach on social media. He runs MIAC Media, which uses blogs, podcasts, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to grow awareness of the member schools. Additionally, he works with the schools' SIDs to improve training on in-game volleyball statistics. Lastly, he oversees the awards process, working hard on a partnership with Presto Sports to provide a new statistics and scoreboard page that ensures stats and scores are accurate and timely. He instituted a simple and easy nomination and voting process that saves the schools hours of work.


"The MIAC is so lucky to have Matt Higgins," said Macalester Head Coach Annie Doman. "He does exemplary work and is dedicated to provide coverage in sports information that is accurate, timely and informational. He is quick to reply back to you and works ahead to provide scheduling information, statistics and wonderful stories."




Mark Johnson, writer for the Morris Daily Herald, has established himself as one of the best volleyball journalists in the country covering the Morris and Grundy Counties in Illinois. He digs deep to get to know the people that make up the sport and their personalities. Last December, he ran a story about Celia Barna, who underwent spine surgery as she attempted to make the Gardner-South Wilmington High School Freshman Volleyball Team. She ended up making the team, and Johnson interviewed her, doctors and nurses to shed light on her amazing story. It's that kind of reporting the sport needs to bring front and center the fantastic people that make up the sport.


He doesn't just pack away his pen and pad at the end of the girls season, also reporting on boys high school volleyball. Johnson utilizes the same in-depth reporting to promote the boys to generate increased exposure for their programs.




Ryan Brown of Wingate University has utilized modern online technology to grow awareness of the nationally-ranked Wingate Bulldogs. He developed the Wingate Sports Network from scratch, broadcasting first class webstreams of home matches, conference championships events and NCAA Tournament matches. In addition to high level graphics, slow motion replays, commentary and post-match interviews, he produced weekly features and highlight videos posted on their website. As the individual responsible for all webstreams, the Bulldogs have generated over $15,000 worth of revenue in the past four years. It's his visionary ideals that give Wingate national and international exposure they might otherwise not have.


"His coverage of the NCAA Southeast Regional with extensive coverage, interviews and preparation was exceptional," said Wingate Head Coach and 2013 AVCA Coach of the Year Shelton Collier. "He webcast every match and did extensive preparation with every coach in the field. He received rave reviews from viewers across the country."




One quality that's consistent with many visionaries is their ability to recognize then fill a void. Steve Kissel did just that at Lindenwood University. After noticing the high quality play from their NCAA Men's team did not have a broadcaster for their webstreams, he approached their sports information director about filling that void. There was no budget to add a broadcaster, but "Coach K," a local girls club coach, was willing to do it anyway on a volunteer basis. He felt it was important to promote DI-DII men's volleyball with LIndenwood becoming a full member of the MIVA. Kissel took his experience and work ethic from broadcasting high school and Washington-St. Louis volleyball and applied it to Lindenwood's men's program. The numerous broadcasts he was a part of helped generate further exposure around the globe for Lindenwood, the MIVA and men's volleyball.


Social Media


Few universities have been able to leverage social media better than the University of Southern California. Whether it is their women's indoor, sand or men's volleyball programs, they do an exceptional job of promoting their program via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and blog accounts. Through social media campaigns and exclusive behind-the-scenes content, they have one of the largest social media fan bases in the nation. One example of a successful campaign was centered around AVCA All-American Sam Bricio called "Sam's Word of the Day." She featured one volleyball word in Spanish and provided its English translation in videos less than one minute in length. These types of simple and creative ideas shed light on the players and their personalities, creating a deeper connection with the team and their respective fans. Various sports information directors and even trainers help provide the content for the three volleyball programs.


College Student Reporter


It's a given the media plays an integral role in helping promote volleyball programs from across the country, but many may not understand how many are current students. Jordan Gossett at the University of the Cumberlands (NAIA) out of Williamsburg, KY proved to be one of the best in 2014. He launched the first ever live radio broadcasts of all home matches to match the streaming video. Gossett also created highlight videos after each match as well as a recruiting video at the end of the season. Through his hard work, the school has offered him a full-time job in their media department upon graduation.


"Through Jordan's help, we have been able to broaden our recruiting network and our fan base," said Patriots Head Coach Kathryn Hart in the nomination form. "We look forward to continuing to work with him. He is an exceptional candidate for this award and definitely deserves the recognition."


NCAA Division I Women's SID Region Honorees (AVCA Awards Regions)



Pacific North


Pacific South

Southern California




Morehead State









East Coast

North Carolina





Division II





California University of Pennsylvania


University of Minnesota Duluth


Dowling College


Lewis University

South Central

West Texas A&M Volleyball


Eckerd College


Limestone College


UC San Diego



Division III





Washington University, St. Louis

Great Lakes

Hope College

Mid Atlantic

Juniata College


Carthage College

New England


New York

Baruch College


Emory University


Whitworth University



Men's DI-II





Princeton University


Loyola University Chicago


Stanford University

Conference Carolinas

Erskine College





University of Hawai'i




Men's DIII



Baruch College


Stevenson University


Wentworth Institute of Technology


Daniel Webster College


Kean University


New York University


About AVCA Grant Burger Media Award
The AVCA Grant Burger Media Award is an honor intended to recognize members of the media who have been involved in the advancement of the sport of volleyball, whether it be through consistent coverage in all mediums (sports information, print, broadcasting, web content, college student reporter and social media), production of volleyball-specific publications or extensive radio and/or television exposure.  It is named in honor of Grant Burger, former Director of Sports Information and Associate Director of the AVCA (1988-92), whose hard work, innovative mind, knowledge and enthusiasm took the areas of media relations and publications at the AVCA to a higher level and increased awareness of the sport of volleyball nationwide.


About AVCA
The AVCA, with its headquarters in Lexington, Ky., is managed by Associations International. The mission of the AVCA is to advance the sport of volleyball with AVCA coaches at the epicenter of leadership, advocacy and professional development. With a membership of over 6,400 and counting, the AVCA provides a professional network for those individuals and companies dedicated to enhancing and promoting the sport. Members include collegiate, high school, club, youth and Olympic coaches, as well as volleyball club directors. The AVCA provides education to volleyball coaches, recognition of elite players and coaches, promotion of volleyball competitions throughout the world, and networking opportunities for volleyball products and services providers. Further information is available at